Last season – 12th in the Western Conference
The Calgary Flames are looking to rebound this season. Putting a new coach behind the bench, having a new and proven starting goaltender, signing their young core long-term and finding ways to add complimentary players to the roster. It’s going to be a more competitive team, but not necessarily improved by finishing higher in the standings.
GM – Brad Treliving
This is Trelivings third season as the GM of the Calgary Flames. They were the huge surprise in his first season, making the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and beating their rivals Vancouver Canucks in the process. Last season they had a setback, which in the end did that they joined all of the other Canadian teams and missed the playoffs, which lead to relieving head coach Bob Hartley of his duties.
We are starting to see a solid core with the Flames re-signing “Johnny Hockey” and Sean Monahan to long-term deals, and Trelivings biggest task will be to identify which complimentary players who shall surround that core.
Head Coach – Glen Gulutzan
Glen Gulutzan’s head coaching job with the Flames is his second in the NHL. He had two season earlier as the head coach of the Dallas Stars, where even though they never made the playoffs, they didn’t have a losing season during his two seasons there. The last three years he has been an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks, and now gets another chance as the guy in charge of this team with a young exciting roster moving forward.
His biggest obstacle of the season is making that defense work, making the depth lines play smarter and getting a structured gameplan in place to not let Elliott get hanged out to dry. They got the tools, they just need to place them in the toolbox. However, with the tough conference, expect improvement, but don’t expect a playoffs spot.
Brian Elliott (G), Troy Brouwer (RW), Kris Versteeg (RW), Nicklas Grossman (D), Chad Johnson (G), Matthew Tkachuk (LW), Alex Chiasson (RW)
Mason Raymond (LW), Joe Colborne (C), Josh Jooris (C), Patrick Sieloff (D),
35th overall pick 2016 (Jordan Kyrou, F), 3rd round pick 2018 (conditional)
Their biggest offseason issue ended last night when Johnny Gaudreau was re-signed. Adding to the re-signing of Sean Monahan. The Flames core is set for years to come. In addition, they added complimentary player Troy Brouwer, a starting goalie in Brian Elliott and signed Matthew Tkachuk to an entry-level contract.
They didn’t really lose anyone of substance in Mason Raymond and Joe Colborne, just some experience which they also signed. So, all-in-all a very good offseason for the Flames.
Goaltending – 6/10
Elliott is a much needed signing for a Flames-team who were absolute abysmal defensively last season. Now they got a legit started and an okay backup that can step in when needed. It’s not the greatest duo, but better and solid.
Defense – 5/10
Captain Giordano missed a lot of last season, which you could tell if you look at how bad they were in their own zone last year. I’m not completely sold on the 2nd and 3rd defensive pairs, and their defense might still be a factor that keeps them from competing for a playoffs spot.
Could potentially have been given a higher grade, but they need to prove themselves.
Brodie – Giordano
Jokipakka – Hamilton
Engelland – Wideman
Forwards – 7/10
Offensively their core is great, but young. Their depth isn’t impressive, a lot of question marks on the roster. The positive thing is that we might see even more young players in the roster, which makes thing an interesting team to watch next season. Even though they might end up in roughly the same spot as last year. The addition of Versteeg helps a lot.
Gaudreau – Monahan – Versteeg
Shinkaruk – Bennett – Brouwer
Ferland – Backlund – Frolik
Bouma – Stajan – Chiasson
M. Tkachuk – Vey
Team Composition – 4/10
A starting goalie in place, a defense that has some pieces, but lacks depth and evidence of making it work when looking at last season. The core offense is young, but should produce, the complimentary players in the top six is not bad, but at the same time not great. Their depth is not good, and it will be the reason why this team won’t work as a unit like the best teams work as a unit.
Too many questions and holes to see a real improvement in the standings.
Leadership presence – 6/10
Giordano, Brouwer, Frolik, Wideman and Versteeg. Good but not great. This is a team that will have to create their own fortune and culture a few years from now, where the initial job has already started. A plus for having one of the best captains in the league.
Skill Value – 6/10
The youth got it, some of the defense got it. The team as an overall lacks a lot, but there is more coming in over the next few years. Won’t help them too much this season, but a work in progress and it will be exciting watching this core develop this team going forward.